Financial Peace of Mind

Financial independence conjures up an idea of more than simply cash or material wealth. It also suggests a certain peace of mind and an approach to life that focuses on abundance and not shortage. Now, how does one go about obtaining and maintaining financial peace of mind? Let’s explore four best practice approaches to financial peace of mind practiced by many who have both obtained and maintained their independence over the long term. Simply put, how do many wealthy investors invest?

Guaranteed Income For Life

NO STRINGS ATTACHED! The financial industry has been flooded with high-cost, commission-based annuities. Most of which are sold with the sales pitch of having a guaranteed income for investors. Many don’t understand just how high those commissions can be, and the conflict of interest they create. The Michigan Attorney General, the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, the SEC, and FINRA have all issued consumer warnings and/or alerts regarding annuities. Our Firm, has been skeptical of traditional annuities and annuity sales practices for years. What if we could offer investors guaranteed income for life with absolutely no stings attached? Sounds too good …

The Coming Retirement Boom

Each day, at least 8,000 baby boomers will turn 65 for at least the next fifteen years. 10,000 individuals retire every day according to The Washington Post. How should these retirees be invested for a successful retirement? The first and often most overlooked step, is to have a written investment plan highlighting all investment objectives and constraints. As the old saying goes, If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Second, Investors cannot control the market returns but they can control how they approach investing. Just like a doctor who uses evidence-based medical techniques to diagnose your ailments, investing should be based off the peer-reviewed academic …

Stephen L. Hicks, JD, MBA, MS, CPA and Roger L. Millbrook, JD, CPA/PFS

Siena’s 2015 Financial Planning Desk Guide

Siena has compiled a non-exhaustive list of frequently requested financial, education and estate tax planning numbers for the 2015 tax year.  This list is designed as a desk reference for use at home or at the office. We encourage you to use this guide in collaboration with your accountant or tax professional. Siena Wealth Advisors will update this tax guide every January in the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Click here to view.

The Retirement Gamble

We have been a broken record over the last several years calling for low cost as opposed to high cost and surrender penalties (“contingent deferred sales charges”); fee-only as opposed to fee-based, loads and commissions; complete transparency as opposed to hidden fees, costs and expenses; passive index investments as opposed to active; highly-educated advisers as opposed to brokers calling themselves retirement planners or money managers; and truly objective and independent advice without conflicts of interest under fiduciary standards as opposed to mere suitability standards of brokers.  April 2013, PBS Frontline explores just how bad the situation has become in their …

Stephen L. Hicks, Roger L. Millbrook, and W. Joseph Irish.

Retirement Plans for Your Small to Mid-Sized Business and Professional Practices

As a business owner, you should carefully consider the varied benefits of establishing an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Employer’s can utilize these plans to attract and retain key employees, provide your employees and owners a tax-advantaged method to save for retirement, and lower the firm’s tax bill by taking allowed deductions on contributions made to the plan each tax year.  Each employer-sponsored retirement plan type has it’s own unique advantages and disadvantages.  Determining the correct retirement plan for your business involves a complex mix of considerations including financial, legal, administrative, cost and tax implications to state a few. Read more.

Stephen L. Hicks, JD, MBA, MS, CPA, Roger L. Millbrook, JD, CPA/PFS, W. Joseph Irish, CPA/PFS, and Zachary H. Armstrong.

Siena Wealth Advisors’ Top 5 Investment Principles

It seems that everyone and their brother-in-law have advice on investments and financial planning, but what do investment and financial planning experts have to say is important (indeed, essential) to know. Click here to view.

Stephen L. Hicks, JD, MS, CPA and Roger L. Millbrook, JD, CPA/PFS. 

Ask an Expert: Survey of Charitable Gifting Strategies

The subject of charity is a far-reaching matter that concerns everything from issues as wide and complex as estate planning and taxation to moral and ethical considerations.  We write this article with a keen understanding of the former and leave the latter to the donors and their families. The stated purpose of this survey is, then, to make the reader aware of many of the various charitable gifting strategies to explore with a professional fee-only adviser (not merely fee-based adviser or broker). The unstated purpose: As much as we leave the morality and ethical issues to others, we nonetheless hope …

Stephen L. Hicks, JD, MS and Roger L. Millbrook, JD, CPA/PFS.